My Transformation: Self-Love

When you hear Jill Scott’s song When I Wake Up, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7XyBz1FFQg, it does something to your soul.  This song speaks to apart of my transformation that deals with self-love and believing in me despite others opinion of me and my life.  I dealt with a series of insignificant relationships for a number of years with a false belief that they would eventually go somewhere notwithstanding the obvious signs of staleness that lead to a dead-end time and again.  I thought that my light would eventually shine bright enough and they would see me and appreciate all of me.

After experiencing a few heartbreaking realizations back-to-back I started to Wake Up.  I started to question my own state of mind instead of making excuses for theirs.  I started to appreciate my light and power instead of forcing others to see it.  I started to look in the mirror and say, “GIRL!”  I subconsciously made a decision to be the happiest me that I could possibly be.  I was in the best shape of my life and it was an eventful year full of weddings and celebrations so I was surrounded by love and joy.

When you make decisions, consciously or subconsciously, a test will come to see if you are going to stand on that decision or back down and end up right back in the same cycle of self-doubt.  Something had finally clicked in me and I decided that I was not going back no matter what.  I loved me to much to have to force others to love me.

I remember this day like it was a week ago.  A beautiful sunny fall day filled with endless possibilities and I received two phone calls.  One from a loser and one from a friend.  The first call was my test, the young brother asking me to hang with him despite canceling on me last-minute a few days earlier.  My response, a new transformed me, declined with explanation.  Enough was enough.  I let him know that I knew he would never love or care for me the way I wanted to be loved and cared for and I was merely a convenience.  Our interactions had turned me into someone I did not want for me and I refused to continue to lose me for someone else’s convenience.

Sometimes things take time but sometimes the turn around is quick.  The second call followed immediately after and asked if my friends and I wanted to come hang out with a friend and his wife at their new house.  I immediately said yes and gathered my crew for the trip out to the beltway.  What started off as a quiet get together, immediately transformed into the night that changed my life.  After being there for a few minutes, my friend’s best male friends walk in, including my now husband, and the rest becomes history.

He saw something in me that I wanted everyone else to see for so long.  I did not have to convince him or drag him along, it was just different.  When I loved myself the most is when I found the one who could love me more.  The power of self-love blooms in various ways in our lives, but mine happened to turn into meeting the love of my life.  If there is something holding you back from appreciating all of you, let it go, whether it is internal or external.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

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Roses and Fairy Tales

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, or a lot of jewelry or invest in too many material things because I have never seen my life as a story of roses and fairy tales.  I have grown up on the defense, prepared to fight many battles, many times alone with no one by my side to help me fight or to protect me.  I have tried to keep my life simple, because I was not sure what would happen next, good or bad.  I have lived, even in my happiest moments, cautiously, awaiting an imaginary gavel to fall and for the things I love to be taken away at any moment.  I am always ready and prepared to stand against any enemy because I have always felt under attack.

Throughout college I worked hard to maintain financially and emotionally.  I look back and regret never taking the time to experience and embrace the beauty of my present because I was so focused on the past and the unknown future.  I missed out on many opportunities because I did not feel that I was worthy.  I second guessed myself many times and lost out because I was afraid of succeeding.  I ran from things that I really wanted.  The only person that short-changed my experience was me, myself and I.

When I look back at all of the pictures that I took over the years, I captured many great moments.  Our first celebration of a group birthday, our first homecoming, my roommate walking in the fashion show, seeing my idols on stage and meeting celebrities in the cafeteria on random days of the week.  It appeared that I had finally received my roses and was living in a fairytale and that I had accepted that role wholeheartedly.  These pictures failed to capture the moment I found out that my grandfather had passed away and how my friends were there for me as I walked across campus to turn in my papers and get my business in order.  The images failed to capture my emotional instability, my anger and my lashing out at others because I was hurting so much inside.  There were no pictures of me in the counseling center knowing I needed help but unsure of the exact reason.  The pictures showed roses and fairy tales but that was not my truth.

My life has never been roses and fairy tales but I had to learn to let go.  Let go of my past and stop allowing it to control my present and incorrectly predict my future.  I had to learn to enjoy the moment, to stop beating myself up for taking a trip or enjoying a concert with some friends.  I had to learn to cry even when everyone else was smiling.  I did not have to fake the funk for the sake of others comfort.  I had to learn to never put on a mask but to always be myself at all times, whether the world liked, loved or hated it.  I had to learn to stop and smell the roses and dream about fairy tales because it was fun and worth it.  I had to learn that no one’s life is roses or fairy tales but that does not stop them from living out their wildest dreams.

Now my life is full of roses and fairy tales not because it is perfect but because I declared it.  I surrounded myself with beautiful people and love myself for my outer and inner beauty.  I have my King, a prince and a dog.  We live in a kingdom that is full of light and love.  My life is far from perfect.  I cry, I get frustrated, upset, I disappoint myself and others.  I aim for an unattainable level of perfection as a mother and wife and push myself too far at times.  Despite the ugly, my life is full of roses and fairy tales and I would not trade it for the world.  Live the life that you want, not the one that you think you deserve.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Why Me?

This is the question I used to scream in the darkness of the night as I endured abuse, neglect and hunger.  The question I asked God right after my father would tell me that I would never be anything when I grew up or that I was fat, stupid or dumb.  A question that lingered every birthday, Christmas or major event my mother was never present at.  I used to ask this question time and again but I would only hear silence in response.  I never received an answer until I stopped asking.

I asked Why Me while in pain and many times while experiencing joy.  I never felt that I should be where I was, good or bad.  I felt that I should be somewhere else, that this life was not my own, that I should not have to be going through this or too unworthy to be experiencing that.  But then one day I woke and stopped asking Why Me and started to live in the moment.  I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I stopped apologizing for my past, present or future and I stopped feeling worthless.  I was supposed to endure and survive, I was supposed to excel and succeed, I was supposed to be an example to others.  Asking questions is great but your questions may prevent you from hearing the answer.

If you are not happy where you are, do not ask why me, but instead watch, listen and learn.  You are there for a reason, you are there for a lesson, and you are there for someone else.  So many have sacrificed their lives, livelihood and their safety so that we may be where we are today.  It is not an easy concept to accept but it is a truth we have to live, own and use to empower.  Instead of asking the Creator Why Me, ask yourself Why Me and you will see you are the only person prepared for the job.

I am using my past, pain and purpose to change the world. That is why he chose me because He knew I wouldn’t give up, I wouldn’t back down, and that I would take this world by storm! I only heard the answer when I stopped asking the question.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

Grad 1

Mirror Image

When you look in the mirror you see the opposite you.  No matter how hard we work, if you are always checking the mirror to make sure you are perfect, you are bogged down by that opposite image.  You can be successful, but you see failure.  You can be strong, but you see weakness.  You can be beautiful, but all you see are the minor blemishes that no one notices.  The mirror image can make you feel defeated.  It never shows you how far you have come.  It doesn’t show what it took for you to look this great.  It does not show the days you cared too much or cared too little.  It only shows you the opposite image at that moment.

In our haste to be perfect we must slow down and take the time to see how other people see our successes and strength.  They are able to remember when we were at our worst and at our best.  They can remind us how we were when we overcame the biggest obstacles of our lives.  They can see our weaknesses and instead of harping on them, they can remove them through encouragement. No one is perfect.  We all struggle to get to success.  Everyone has a story and staying in the mirror won’t show us anymore of that story.

The point is mainly to check the mirror when necessary but don’t remain there because the world does not need the opposite you, but that woman who is beautiful, strong and fearless.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

Dealing With Trauma

A few years ago I went through a series of really traumatizing incidents.  My sister gave me her car and the first day I was in DC with it, I went to a friend’s house and it was stolen with my new laptop inside.  It was found a few days later, completely destroyed.  A few months later someone tried to kidnap me while I was walking to work at 5 am on a quiet residential street in Maryland.  Then a few months after that incident, a child (14-16 year old) jumped into my car at a gas station in Maryland and stole my brand new car.  It was also found days later but I had already bought a new car.

Through this very tough time, I thought I was processing it all mostly because I talked about it frequently with friends and family, I kept pushing through the process and I had a positive outlook on the entire situation despite the judgment I received.  People were telling me I was cursed, that I should quit school and move back home or that I needed to atone for some unknown sin.

These are some really scary incidents that some people may deal with individually at some point in their life but together and back to back, it became exceptionally difficult to feel safe.  Who is my protector?  I am pushing through the pain, proclaiming I am still blessed, and staying prayed up yet I am subject to these attacks.  Even my own father told me that I deserved all that I was getting because I did not listen to him and decided to finish high school and go to college instead of following his plan, which is still unknown.

I had to withdraw from the noise and stop allowing people to one, blame me and two, shame me.  People will tell you that you deserved things that were clearly out of your control.  They will steal the victim card from you and make you out to be a villain.  If you internalize these things, your mind will begin to blame and shame yourself for the actions of others.  Yes, I had an older car and should have had a club steering wheel lock on.  Yes, I should not have gone to a gas station so late with my roommate.  Yes, I should have tried to take a safer route to work even if it took more time.  But even if I had done all of those things, life still would have happened.  Anything could have happened.

So many of us have dealt with or are currently dealing with some form of trauma: sexual abuse or assault, physical abuse or assault, mental abuse, sudden deaths in our families, personal illnesses or illness amongst close family members or friends, thoughts of suicide, drug abuse.  Do not take responsibility for things that are out of your control.  I blamed myself for being my father’s child, for deciding to move with him after growing up with my grandparents, and after staying when I should have ran away.  I blamed myself for being poor and deciding to go to college, for never being able to fully enjoy my experience, for not making wise financial decisions when I took out my loans.  I blamed myself for every attack that I went through during that period of time.  I replayed it in my head on how I could have done things differently, what I should have done differently, why I didn’t do things differently.  I blamed me and not the actual perpetrators who should have known better and who only targeted me because of my vulnerabilities.

Many of the traumas that we experience in life are inflicted onto us by others. Some of us do not even realize the extent of the trauma and endured it, or suppressed it  and many of us have never even healed from it.  The lack of healing causes us to drag much of the wrongly placed guilt and shame on ourselves into the future.  Although we may not be able to prevent every traumatic incident, we can take control and get help.  Seek professional counseling, avoid those who attempt to blame you, and release the guilt that comes with self-blaming.  We are powerful and resilient.  Our bodies continuously regenerate new cells that replace those old cells that help us to heal internally and externally.  Although the scar remains and the memory exists, the pain and past does not have to control our present or our future.

I share my story to let you now that the road is never easy.  We all go through somethings as we walk through this life’s journey but through it all you have to remain steadfast and unmovable because YOU WIN when you don’t give up.  I won. She, Me, Her WON. Get help. Start to heal.  Be blessed.  Be you. Do you. Live in your truth. Tell your story.  On your own terms.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7syiF3Qim4

Written Words: Worries from 2009

This flood has given me the opportunity to go through some old journals, letters, cards and notes I have written to myself or received from others.  The timing is amazing because graduation always brings on a spirit of reminiscing.  Despite some of the damage that the flood has done, it has also brought a level of healing and elevation that was unexpected.  One of the boxes that was unsalvageable contained my 2008 graduation gifts from my family.  One of the items was a personalized keepsake box that I put a few pictures in, a $1.00 bill, my cords, and a note that contained all of my worries.  I listed out my worries which included making my student loan payments, my family and my future.  But at the end of that letter, this is what I wrote:

” My prayer: God I pray that you take all of my worries and work them out for my good.  May your will be done in my life.  Help me to be all that you want me to be, walking in my purpose and destiny.  Thank you in advance. Amen.”

Everything that I worried about in 2009, God WORKED IT OUT.  I always orally expressed that I never wanted to get married but in my writings to myself it consistently appears.  Five years ago no one could have paid me to believe that I would be where I am today, still with worries but not the ones I had 5 years ago.  But I took my worries and gave them to God and He worked every single one of them out.

I hope this post inspires someone to take all of their burdens off of themselves and release it through writing or verbalizing and then look back a few days, months or years from now and see how it has been worked out FOR YOUR GOOD.  Be blessed.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

The Day My Faith Wavered

While I was in school there was always a lot going on personally, financially and spiritually.  I went through a period where I was completely broken.  My spirit was torn to shreds.  I felt that because I paid my tithes, I went to church every Sunday and sometimes during the week, I volunteered that I should be blessed.  It was a very dark time.  I was in a very dark place.  I felt that God did not love me because so much bad was happening to me and I could not serve a God who did not care for me like the word said He did.  Had He not punished me enough by being born to parents who weren’t there for me growing up, or allowing me to live with a father who was unstable in every aspect or by making me poor and have to struggle through school.  He could not possibly think that I needed to endure more to learn MORE lessons.

 I felt that I had learned enough already.  I had endured enough pain.  I wanted my story to change and for it to change at that moment.  So, one day during the this dark era I gave up on God.  Although I grew up in a home full of abuse and was isolated from my family for months or even years at a time, I had never given up on God, but right then I couldn’t deal and I decided  that I was done.  I had enough and I couldn’t take any of it anymore.  So for a few weeks I began to tell myself that God wasn’t real.  Things went from bad to worse.  So, I continued telling myself that God wasn’t real.  He couldn’t be real.  If He was real then He wouldn’t do this to me.  I started to throw myself a pity party and lean onto my own understanding.  I cried a lot.  I didn’t pray.  I didn’t process my pain or anger, I just let it well up inside and hoped that it would all go away.

Then one day, Greater Mt. Calvary was having a service and Pastor Marvin Winans was preaching.  It was June 20th, 2006 (I looked up the sermon on their website).  The sermon was titled, Let My Son Go.  I did not intend to go but the Holy Spirit drew me in that night.  I remember sitting there stoic with no expectation but just present.  Everything he said that night spoke to my situation, to my heart, to my spirit.  There was a demonic spirit on me that had to be called out and removed.  I realized that I had not given up on God but I had given up on myself.  And if I wanted to get out of this Hell I was going to have to be the one to change that.  That one word literally saved my life.  I am not sure how far deep I would have gone but I am glad that I did not find out.

Whatever religion you believe in or state of enlightenment you live in, you have to believe in yourself, take charge of your life and never give up.  I had to give up to learn that I CAN NEVER GIVE UP.  We are all going through something even on our happiest days.  Embrace this physical season change and make a spiritual change to be better, become greater and inspire others.  My charge on this blog is to share my truth.  The one I live. But I want you to also live in your truth and share your truth with other.  Be you. Do you. Tell your story. On your own terms.